It’s Official: Eagles Sign WR Miles Austin

Miles Austin. Aaron Doster/USA Today

Miles Austin. Aaron Doster/USA Today

Miles Austin identified a few reasons for deciding to sign with the Eagles: the winning culture, the guys in the locker room and the proximity to his home town in New Jersey.

Those are all reasonable factors, but the truth is, it sounds like Austin didn’t have many (any?) other options.

“I didn’t visit anywhere [else],” Austin confirmed. “This is the only place I came.”

The Eagles officially announced Tuesday that they’ve signed Austin to a one-year deal. According to NFL Network, it’s worth $2.3 million, a curious amount for a player who didn’t seem to be generating much interest on the open market.

Austin (6-2, 215) turns 31 in June and has missed 15 games due to injury in the past four seasons. Last year with Cleveland, he was placed on injured reserve in December because of a kidney issue.

“Last year, I don’t even know how you lacerate a kidney without stabbing yourself,” he said. “But I fell on my side, I guess, really hard. I don’t know what happened. But before then, I feel like it was my process where I warm up. So last year I changed my process before practice, and it helped me last year soft tissue-wise. Obviously there’s nothing I can do about a kidney, but I felt as good as I felt last year physically, my legs and everything else. So I’m just gonna continue that, learn some stuff here and then go on from there.”

Unlike other free agents the Eagles have signed this offseason, Austin didn’t seem to know much about the team’s sports science program.

Even when he’s been on the field the last two seasons, Austin hasn’t done much. He’s totaled 71 catches for 812 yards (11.4 YPR) and two touchdowns in his last 23 games. Austin made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010, but it seems likely that his best days are behind him.

“I’m 30 now, so I’m sure I probably lost some bit of explosiveness from being 22 years old,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s that much. I feel, honestly, good. I feel healthy. Even if there was a slight loss, maybe, potentially… I don’t even know, I’m just throwing out hypotheticals… but even with that slight loss of burst or whatever we were just talking about, I think the fact that I know the game more, I can still do what needs to be done. I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything because I’ve gained things mentally, so it might be a transfer of energy, but I didn’t feel like it was a loss of energy.”

As for role/fit, really anything is in play. The Eagles have Jordan MatthewsRiley Cooper and Josh Huff on the roster. And Chip Kelly has said on multiple occasions that he is a big fan of the wide receivers in this draft class.

But apparently, he felt he needed to address the position with a veteran.

Given that the Eagles don’t have a lot of proven commodities at wide receiver, Austin could earn some playing time if he stays healthy and impresses. But as Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice points out, Austin hasn’t played special teams since 2009, so he would seem like a strange option as the fourth or fifth wide receiver.

Austin spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Dallas Cowboys before signing with the Browns in 2014.